Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Russian Church pins high hopes on Pope Francis

Pavel Korobov, rbth.ru:

“The new pontiff is a very distinguished church leader,” said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, commenting on the pope’s election. “It’s probably no accident that he is the first pope to take the name of Francis – undoubtedly in honor of Francis of Assisi, who is revered in the Roman Catholic Church as an example of Christian poverty, humility and service to the poor.”

The metropolitan said that service to the poor and needy is a priority for churches today, and the Russian Orthodox Church has a major focus on this.

“We see a big area here where we can work together with the Roman Catholic Church,” said Hilarion. “I hope this alliance between us will develop under the new pontiff.”

“We hope that Francis will give a boost to the development of the relationship between our churches, which started under his predecessor,” said Archpriest Dimitry Sizonenko, secretary for inter-Christian relations of the synodal Department for External Church Relations. “He [Bergoglio] once said that he loves Dostoyevsky, and one would like to hope that he also loves the spiritual traditions of Russian Orthodoxy.”

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